Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/554

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arsenic, ipecacuanha, turpentine, mix vomica and its alkaloid, strychnia, and camphor. Explain the action in any way we choose—as substitutive, as the primary differing from the secondary effects of the drug, etc.—the relationship of similarity, however problematical its value, still remains.

Not seldom has the reproach been cast upon homœopathy that it possesses no literature worthy of the name; that its followers can boast no valuable discoveries or original research. In the main, the criticism is just. But, in this one department of medical science, the profession has received at its hands an incalculable benefit. It claims, and for the most part rightly, the credit of advancing, directly or indirectly, the study of the physiological action of drugs, as related to the alleviation and cure of disease. The careful experiments thus set on foot have thrown a light upon the selection and intelligent use of remedies which has largely revised the old system of therapeutics. Homœopathy has, undoubtedly, given to the world the revelation of more than one valuable truth, and the profession and people alike owe to it, in the persons of its advanced thinkers, the gratitude of respect and recognition. In short, as "every student is a debtor to his whole profession," so the schools of medicine are mutually beholden to each other. The same influences which have modified the one sect have served to liberalize both. The practical result, as already manifest, is of greater interest to the public than are the steps by which it has been reached. A careful study of the course of treatment commonly pursued by leading practitioners, and recommended by the highest authorities in the two schools, reveals the fact that, in eighty selected forms of disease, representing maladies of every type and every stage, six tenths of the remedies employed by these supposedly rival schools are identically the same in kind, and differ only in respect of dose. The variance is no greater than probably exists between the respective methods of practice of any two physicians of either school. Were disease an entity, and its types invariable, we might look for the establishment of a universal law of therapeutics; but, considering all the varying conditions of age, sex, temperament, habit, hereditary tendency, personal idiosyncrasy, climate, and general surroundings, it is, in the nature of things, impossible. Between homoeopathic and "regular" physicians there is but one legitimate ground of quarrel—and herein the latter have sufficient cause of complaint—namely, the continuance, by their old-time opponents, of name and title suggestive of a rigid exclusivism, indicative of their supposed arrival at the ultima Thule of medical research, and their adherence to a universal dogma, to which, as such, they can no longer honestly adhere. Why should it not be possible for a guild of men, interested in so grand an object as the relief of suffering and the conservation of human life, to join cordial hands with their fellow-laborers in a common cause, and content themselves with the unequivocal name of physician, and the